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The Workout Of The Day for Wednesday, 12.19.12. “…just walk away”

Howdy folks,

Well, it’s Wednesday. For the majority of the season, this is the day that we talk a little bit (or, ok… a whole lot, sometimes…) about our technique & our skills.

Today, though?

Today we’re doing something a little bit different.

We’re going to talk about hanging up the bike for a while.

For many of you out there, the season is either already over, or pretty darn close to over.

I’m guessing that’s as much a relief as a shame for a significant percentage of you.

Crazy thing, though; I’m already starting to hear back from some folks who ended their cross season a week or so ago, and are – believe it or not – chomping at the bit to get back on the bike.

Look… bike racers are crazy. It’s a given, ok?

But c’mon, folks. If you just finished your cross season, after a full year of road and/or mountain bike racing/riding as well?

Just Walk Away

Traditionally, the cyclocross season here in Seattle – and pretty much all of the US – used to wrap up right about now. Nationals was at the end of December, and if you wanted to race more after that, you had to go to Europe and get flogged by the big-boys.

Heck, the vast majority of folks were finished with racing by the first week of December.

Oddly enough, most still are.

You know what?

That’s actually a pretty darn good thing.

If you’re planning on doing what most semi-serious bike racers do – race road or MTB in the spring – you need to take some time off.

Guess what?

That time is now.

2012-calendar-december

Back in the day, when I used to follow up a “full” Cross season with an intense road season – and  the occasional MTB race – I would finish up my Cross racing in the first week of December, and literally chain my bikes together until January first.

Yup.

I chained the damn things to each other so that I couldn’t ride.

For three weeks.

If I raced Nationals later in the month?
The three weeks got pushed back to whenever I stepped off after the last race of the year, and the chains went on.

still think this is a really good idea.

Everyone needs some time off the bike. Heck, even the folks who get paid to race take a few weeks off.

If you’re going to be racing next December, the time to take off is now… or, well, in a couple of weeks, when you get done with Nationals. Or Worlds.

That’s an entirely different conversation, and we’ll get to it when the time comes, promise.

Anyways…

Time off.

You need it.

You need to give your body time to recover so that you can start the whole year-long grind all over again.

How do I know this?

‘Cause I’ve watched – over decades – the repeated attempts of many, many folks to avoid taking this necessary rest, and I’ve seen the results.

The riders who don’t take this rest…

Stop getting faster.

Run out of gas mid-way through the next season

Suddenly re-discover a love for skiing in the middle of cross season

Walk away from the whole damn sport after a while.

What a puny plan…

Are there exceptions?

Of course there are, but if you follow people for long enough, there are darn few of them. It may take a couple of years – heck, it may take 5-10 of them – but eventually if you don’t take a darn break, it catches up with you.

So take a damn break, OK?

But what about my base training for the next season? All my roadie friends are out doing base miles, won’t I be way, way behind when I get back on the bike?

Congratulations.

You’re about to discover the best thing about racing cyclocross all season.

You just finished a “base” period that was far more intense, and far more productive than all those empty “base” miles your roadie friends have been putting in teaching their bodies to go slow over longer distances and durations than they ever actually race.

Three weeks off.

Then back on the bike, and back in the swing of things.

You’ll thank me for it later.

*** OK, let’s (briefly!) define what “Weeks off” means. We’re not talking about 3 weeks on the couch eating bon-bons and drinking tankards of ale. Give yourself maybe a week of that, if you have to (and I don’t rule that out. Some folks need to get a whole bunch of self-control out of their system so they can re-set and re-boot. That’s OK, don’t beat yourself up about it.) “Off,” for our purposes, means “Off the bike.” Keep yourself busy. Do something that has your body moving/working a bit, but isn’t over the top strenuous, and isn’t cycling. This is a good time to start the 1st/Adaptation Phase of a weight training program, for example. Or go skiing. Skiing is good…

-M

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~ by crosssports on December 19, 2012.

2 Responses to “The Workout Of The Day for Wednesday, 12.19.12. “…just walk away””

  1. Thanks for the post. After years of ironman racing and recently taking up cyclocross, I haven’t had a proper break since 2005. Always good to hear a voice of reason in my head helping to drown out the crazy that’s always there.

  2. Hah! You’re welcome, and thanks for the feedback, Colin!
    Pretty darn familiar with “The Crazy” here, and always working to drown it out! Glad we could help a comrade in arms in the struggle 🙂
    M

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